I have not been dining out very much these last months. I have not been out at all for that matter and yet my garden is a mess. My strawberries are consumed by snails. My peas are suffering from heat or some sort of pox. My cucumbers are thriving but experience tells me there will be grubs before I get much of a harvest.
Hogs for the Cause will be the first mass gathering I’ll attend since the pandemic and I’m really looking forward to it. It’s a great event for a great cause and you should not hold it against them that they allow me to be one of the judges. They allow many people to judge, including folks who are certified in such things at each table of judges. Every time I’ve judged, everyone who participated took it seriously.
Over the years, as they’ve grown, they’ve made some adjustments to the judging. I can recall a time when I legitimately had too much barbecued pork over a period of 3 hours. And this was good barbecued pork. These days they spread things out among all the judges such that one’s palate isn’t overwhelmed.
In years past I’ve judged on Saturday, but circumstances dictated that this year, I request the Friday afternoon/evening slot instead. They were very kind to accommodate me and so that’s when I’ll be there.
To get back to the “Cause” part of the thing, these folks are, among other things, building residences near pediatric hospitals so that people whose kids have cancer can near with their kids during treatment. What more do you need to hear?
I know a young man who only recently finished treatment for cancer. He’s a great kid and he’s got great parents and they were fortunate to live not too far from the hospital at which he was treated. It was hard enough, but it would have been harder, I think, had they lived 194 miles away from the hospital. That’s the average distance families who take advantage of the housing Hogs for the Cause provides travel.
So if that’s not enough, there’s also the food and the music.
This is not, to my knowledge, a sanctioned event on the barbecue circuit, but everybody out there is cooking great food. In the years I’ve been judging, which is pretty much all the years the event has taken place, I think I’ve had one or maybe two bites that weren’t at least good. Those bites were in the “potpourri” category and involved some creative interpretations of “barbecue.”
This year the event will be held in Belle Chasse, which translates to “beautiful hunt” according to my research. I don’t know why it’s called that but it’s not very far from New Orleans and I’m just very happy that Hogs is going on this year. I know a lot of people on the teams whose members live in the New Orleans area and I enjoy seeing them when I attend. I have heard that the Friday night before the Saturday “main event” can get a little crazy. I doubt I’ll be there late enough to experience it, but on ne sait jamais, non?
If you are interested in attending or feel the cause is worth a donation, you can learn a lot more about Hogs for the Cause at their website. If you see me out there Friday afternoon, please say hello. I will be the sprightly fellow about whom you’ll remark, “He doesn’t look 52!” wearing a Chef’s Brigade cap.